5-2016 Update

Dear Sky Valley Residents,

  • We hope you all had a safe and fun Memorial Day weekend. And Happy Father’s Day!Father-son
    (June 19, 2016) We are proud of our local dads and propose most popular local activities to celebrate this wonderful holiday and be a local hero for moms and kids: fishing and riverbank cleanup, shooting and shooting pit cleanup, hiking and trash/plastic/aluminum/glass pickup, kayaking and riverbank cleanup, and also avoiding use of toxic chemicals for yard work and maintenance.
  • Expired prescription and over-the-counter drugs can be dropped off at most police stations year round during weekday business hours no questions asked. Ground and surface water contamination by pharmaceuticals is a big national and international problem. Please help improve quality of water in the valley and do not dump expired drugs in the toilet.

Here is Your Chance to Safely Dispose of Prescription Drugs, article in Everett Herald from April 28, 2016

  • On Friday May 13, 2016, one of SVENA members notified DNR (WA Department of Natural Resources) about wildfire in Gold Bar area. DNR did not yet know about that Wild firefire, even though other people had seen it burning since the night before, but no one else reported the fire. Before the rain started on Saturday May 14, fire spread to about 400 acres in one day. Causes of fire are being investigated as of this update’s release date.

If you see a forest fire or wildfire, unless you have heard about it in the news or can tell that fire crews are taking care of the fire, PLEASE REPORT IT! Call one of the following DNR phone numbers:

1-800-527-3305    or    1-800-562-6010

If you do not remember those numbers or do not have them handy, it’s also OK to call 911 and they will initiate an emergency response. A short phone call can save people’s lives and property.  As always, fires in homes or other structures are reported by calling 911. Thank you!

  • On April 27, 2016, a petition from three non-profit organizations including SVENA Spraying pagewas sent to FPB (WA Forest Practices Board) for better notice and disclosure for aerially-sprayed toxic forest chemicals. You can also find a link to the petition on CHEMICAL SPRAYING page of our website. Please send your comments/ letter of support for the petition to the FPB’s email address practicesboard@dnr.wa.gov. Comment period has been extended. See an example of a letter here. You and your comments/letters are very important to our government.

A great message would be something as simple as “I learned that there is a petition about forest chemicals notification and reporting before the Board. I think this is a serious issue in Washington State that the Board should thoroughly discuss. I live in _______ and have concerns about forest chemicals. I would want to know before chemicals were sprayed near my family and property.”

On May 11th, 2016, FPB heard testimony in favor of the petition from Wyatt Golding
(WFLC – Washington Forest Law Center), Diane Hardee (SVENA), Liz Ruther (Defenders of Wildlife), and Todd Wildermuth (University of Washington, Environmental Law Department). Representatives of the Tribes and elk hunters also spoke in support of the petition. Defending the status quo, Donelle Mahan from the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and Kelly McLain from the Washington Department of Agriculture (WA DOA) talked about how chemicals are currently applied on Washington State forestlands and how very little monitoring, notification or enforcement is done. We believe that there is a real need for increased notification before aerial spraying occurs and better monitoring and reporting afterwards, and that the petition would help achieve that.

  • On April 28, 2016 the President of SVENA Inessa Pearce had a business meeting with two representatives of Weyerhaeuser Corporation, a 21.8 Billion dollar company after a recent major merger. Weyerhaeuser and Campbell Global are the largest tree farm managers/owners in Sky Valley. We discussed environmental concerns for Skykomish Valley, local tourism industry, Wallace Falls State Park, and alternatives to toxic chemical spraying on local tree farms. It was mentioned that there should be some research done for retaining aesthetic values in the highly active tourism areas of Washington State.  It turned out that both representatives love outdoors and are kayakers. They also wanted to remind that timber industry is important for Washington State. It creates jobs and brings value to the people. Let’s also not forget how much the timber industry helps their shareholders.
  • On May 4, 2016 Hans Dunshee, the new member of Snohomish County Council, District 5, invited SVENA to come to a meeting at the county building in Everett. Chuck Lie and Inessa Pearce met with Hans and his legislative aide, Tyler Verda, in Hans’ office for nearly one hour. We discussed environmental concerns in the Sky Valley, aerial application of herbicides, Wallace Falls State Park/Singletary timber sale, sustainable recreation, and capacity of Hwy 2.

We encourage all citizens in the Sky Valley to share their concerns about the environment and Hwy 2 capacity with Council Member Dunshee. He appears to listen to the expressed concerns but he can only listen if people speak up. His email address is hans.dunshee@snoco.org , Mr. Verda’s  email address is tyler.verda@snoco.org .

  • The week of May 22, 2016 the City of Gold Bar closed all roadside parking near Wallace FallsWallace Falls State Park (WFSP).  Concerns about safety and access for emergency vehicles have been raised.  WFSP has parking for 108 cars. On a typical summer weekend, on average 600-800 carloads of people come to Gold Bar to visit WFSP.  A private landowner has opened a pay per stall parking lot near WFSP to allow offsite parking.  Even those that have Discover Passes are willing to pay $10 to enjoy WFSP.  SVENA encourages all of its readers and members to contact Senator Kirk Pearson, County Executive Dave Somers, County Council Member Hans Dunshee, Representatives Dan Kristiansen and Elisabeth Scott (pearson@leg.wa.gov, dave.somers@co.snohomish.wa.us, hans.dunshee@snoco.org, dan.kristiansen@leg.wa.gov, elizabeth.scott@leg.wa.gov ) to have the local government address the need for expanded park infrastructure including parking or transit access, and an expanded trail system on the east side of the Wallace River.  We also encourage you to contact Governor Inslee and Representative Del Bene. Please see an example of a message at TOURISM AND RECREATION INDUSTRY PAGE of SVENA website or at PARKING CRISIS AT WFSP page.
  • Trains transporting toxic chemicals through Sky Valley are a concern for public and environmental health and safety. Washington State Department of Ecology held aOil train public hearing in Everett on May 23, 2016 to receive public comments regarding a proposed rule as directed by the legislature to create reporting standards for facilities that transport crude oil by rail and pipeline. Refineries would be expected to report crude deliveries ahead of time to emergency responders, while the public would receive quarterly summaries of crude volumes. Nine citizens provided public testimony at the afternoon session and raised concerns about auditing the quantities. The evening presentation and commentary focused on contingency planning and oil spill response, where two citizens provided testimony and raised concerns that diluted bitumen from the Alberta tar sands is not included in the current planning standards. For more info, visit Chapter 173-185 WAC Oil Movement by Rail and Pipeline Notification Rulemaking.
  • The local shooting pits have a lot of examples of responsible vs. irresponsible
    Lead pollution at a local shooting pit

    Lead and trash pollution in the shooting pits of Skykomish Valley 5-2016

    gun-owner behavior. There are volunteers trying to keep them cleaned up, but it’s a huge and never-ending task. Lead gets in water and is toxic for everything that is alive including people. We would gladly accept suggestions regarding what could be done to maintain opportunities for responsible shooters and hold the dumpers accountable.

  • Backed by the National Rifle Association, a handful of senators have inserted the “Sportsmen’s Access” amendment into the Energy Bill (S. 2012) that would make it virtually impossible to close public lands to anything-goes target shooting. Please call Senator Maria Cantwell and share your thoughts against this amendment.

Seattle office (206) 220-6400

Washington D.C. office (202) 224-3441

More info about  FSEEE (Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics) against reckless shooting in National Forests

  • Summary of FPAs (Forest Practice Applications) Monroe-through-Index area for May, 2016.

According to tree farm practices, after a tree farm is logged, it is sprayed with herbicides and replanted with trees. After two to five years, it is often sprayed with herbicides again. Concerned individuals, including those who witnessed massive aerial spraying of toxic herbicides in Sultan-Startup area of Skykomish Valley in September of 2015, might want to become Forest Practice Application reviewers through the FPARS system of the WA Department of Natural Resources. That way, you can know in advance, if logging or spraying is planned near you and can affect your and your family’s health, safety and value of your property. For more info, explore THREE SIMPLE STEPS TO BECOME FPA REVIEWER at our website.

Please spread the word, let us know if you have questions / environmental concerns / interesting facts, if you would like to add someone to the mailing list or to opt out of receiving SVENA updates.

Warm regards,

Inessa Pearce
SVENA (Skykomish Valley Environmental & Economic Alliance)